Rain worsens Pine Twp. stormwater problems

ContributedPine Township residents are concerned about stormwater runoff that they say is damaging roads and properties. This photo shows some crumbling pavement on Gill Road near Maple Winds Mobile Home Park.

PINE TOWNSHIP – Stormwater runoff in Pine Township continues to be a problem following several heavy rainstorms.

Linda Shaw of Lucas Circle said there is a depression in her backyard that won’t dry up. She and others spoke during public comment at Monday night’s supervisors’ meeting.

“It looks like it’s sinking,” she said.

Richard Stachel, chairman of the supervisors, said that a lot of property owners – Stachel included – are experiencing similar problems.

“It’s really affecting us. It’s really affecting the sewer systems,” he said.

There’s a ditch nearby on Tower Road that needs to be cleared out, Shaw said.

The supervisors said that they’ll get their public works crew out there to take a look this week.

“It’ll be a start,” Stachel said.

Karen Ashburner, who lives at Maple Winds Mobile Home Park, said she knows that there has been a lot of rain, but there is water flowing onto her property from elsewhere.

The pillars under her home are being damaged, she has seen mosquito eggs, and it seems like the water is “coming from every direction.”

“We sink ankle deep and can’t get out. It’s like quicksand,” Ashburner said of her front yard.

The township previously considered adding new storm sewer pipes in that area, but they would have needed a right-of-way agreement with the property owner, Stachel said.

That would have redirected the water to a neighboring field, and would not work well with the mobile home park’s sewage system, Ashburner said.

Jane Ford, who owns the mobile home park – it has entrances on Tower and Gill roads – has voiced concerns at numerous supervisors’ meetings in recent years.

On Monday, she said that she has been unable to mow and maintain the embankments that surround her property because it’s so wet.

She believes that some of the overflow is coming from the nearby General Electric plant, which is up hill from her land.

Ford tried to explain the problem by having the supervisors picture a gallon of water trying to fit in a teacup – it can’t be done.

“It’s just exasperating,” she said.

On Monday, she put down 4 tons of limestone on her roads even though she said it will be washed away during the next big rainfall.

There is a lot of erosion around her property, and parts of Gill Road seem to be crumbling away, she said, noting she’s worried that someone will get hurt or killed in an accident.

“The pavement of the road is starting to cave in,” Ford said.

Some of the water issues are going beyond the township’s typical flood planning because there has been so much rain, Stachel said.

Ford said she’s been at Maple Winds for 30 years and that the situation is at its worst.

Stachel said the township will get its public works crew on her case as well.

Ford recommends a red dye test – the tablets would be dropped in certain areas next time it rains, and the colored water would show where the overflow is coming from and where it’s ending up.

She later noted that at least one resident in her part of the township has reported oil in their backyard after heavy rains.